Most of us have had trauma. Perhaps you grew up in an abusive family. Perhaps you suffer from depression. Perhaps you’ve a long, long string of dysfunctional relationships. Maybe you drink too much or use marijuana to blanket your true feelings of confusion and despair. Maybe you feel like taking yourself out sometimes. I am beaming out the love of the lioness and I want you to know, it’s not your fault.
Don’t let the new-whatever-it-is spiritual movement tell you that you chose this existence. Or that all you need to do is think positive and your life will turn around. Or that only you can heal yourself. Geesh. This is worse than Catholic guilt! Your life is hard enough without putting all that on you as well. Why in the heck do so many cultures have shamans if everyone is supposed to heal themselves?
I’m not saying that you are no longer expected to be responsible for your actions in the present day. Or that your choices have not created the situations you are in right now. Of course there are lessons to learn. That is life. Every life has wisdom being reflected back in our every experience. I’d just like to explain some things to you from a shamanic viewpoint about how our spiritual lineage can affect our mental health as well as our living situation.
We are all connected. Everyone is saying it these days, and it’s exactly true. That means that we are connected to our parents’ wounds and their parents’ mistakes. We are connected to generations of ill behaviors that came before us, the things that wounded humans do when they are in despair: by throwing their rage around, by hurting the ones they love the most. Killing and maiming. Those with the know-how that threw curses. A lot of times, the wounds suffered get passed down with unintentional curses, like “You will always ___.” “You are such a ____.” “You will never ____”” These energetic ley lines of pain, these curses have power that is far greater than ourselves. Most of us do not have the physical/spiritual capacity to undo them on our own. It’s too big. Yes, we are all our own personal gurus, but gurus-in-the-making. Having potential and living potential are not the same thing. Most of us don’t have the time to get to guru status in order to start living our lives clear of chaos before we die.
Shamanic illnesses are pretty common. This is because we live in a culture that does not believe in shamanism, so people don’t get help right when they need it and everything builds up. We also throw energy around like nobody’s business in ways that people in shamanic cultures know way better not to.
Yes, absolutely, it is our responsibility to do our own personal work and break the patterns that bind us, but for the big stuff we usually need help getting started. That is part of learning to be open and receive. Half of the love equation we are all looking for is receiving. We can go to a healer, who, honestly, probably doesn’t have the physical/spiritual capacity do to take on those great powers either, but they do have long-standing relationships with most honorable compassionate spirits that do. Or know how to unravel the situation with pure love, instead of a feat of wonder. Shamanic healers know that there are all kinds of forces and spirits out there that are vastly more powerful than we are. Healing is about skill, love and sometimes convincing and trickiness. Discernment, not typically raw power.
There is the condition of soul loss. It is possible to be in therapy for 20 years, working, working, working but never getting anywhere because well, we just aren’t home in order to do the work. We’ve been disassociated most of our lives, to the point where, though we may hear the phrase all the time, we have no idea what it means to “be in our bodies”. It’s pretty normal to jump out of your body when something awful happens, like a car accident, trauma, rape, abuse, long-standing oppressive environments. Who would want to be home to experience that? The hard part is coming back home. It doesn’t always happen by itself. Sometimes the soul part is just, gone. Sometimes we latch onto outside stimuli and people trying to fill the hole that was left behind or we are afraid to make changes in our lives that would make our bodies a more hospitable place for our precious, delicate souls. Sometimes the soul part has been stolen by someone who doesn’t know how to let us go.
When there is a big hole inside of us, this can turn out to be a nice home for other souls that have nowhere to go. Souls of the dead who didn’t know they died and didn’t get to cross over. Someone whose mother wouldn’t release her after she died. Someone with unfinished business who missed the window. These people can be confused, in despair or angry but always, they are hungry. They drift right in and all of a sudden we have a rider. Someone who needs to be in our body in order to get energy. This is possession. We might hear voices or thoughts in our heads, feel desires and passions we never had before. We might not realize that we are not fighting ourselves. Instead, we have some desperate company that needs help.
So we go to a healer, who can help this soul get in touch with the divine psycho-pomp beings and cross into the light. These wonderful people can do the soul retrieval journey and bring the soul part back. Being home, we finally have traction in our lives. We can deal with things. We feel restored in personal power and our lives are no longer like movies we watch from a distance.
Why can’t do this ourselves? Why can’t we heal ourselves all the time?
Have you ever tried to make breakfast while talking on the phone with a drama going on in the living room and the dog just knocked a vase off the table with his tail? There’s too much to focus on. The healer has to be super, super grounded and in touch with her spirits, listening to them while taking cues from the forces that need help. The client needs to be very trusting and open, not working, receiving and tracking how this healing is shifting things inside herself. Plus there is this super special elixir that makes every healing session power-packed and exponentially increased in effectiveness called love. Love again! One person caring for another person. This kind of stuff gets the spirits really excited and they come in even stronger. There is something sacred about the power of witnessing, which is a lot of what a healer does. The spirits can’t do the work they do a lot of times without a witness and a conduit to the client. Having a healer/witness who has traveled the lonely roads of healing before us is a very assuring thing. This is for sure.
What is healing anyways? Is it the awareness that keeps you moving forward? Is it the moment that the wound is stitched? Is it the integration afterwards? Is it all of of this? Who does the healing, is the question of the age and it seems so very important to some to figure out who gets the credit. But no one gets the credit, because healing is an inter-relational process, because we are all connected. We don’t create our realities; we co-create them. And when we walk down to the river of healing, there’s lots of people there to show us the way and support us. Some of them have vision, some of them know the ropes and some others are gifted in procedures that are kind of tricky, like surgery. Why would you do your own surgery? Wouldn’t you rather just lie on the table?
If you have felt like you have been going from crisis to crisis for too long, it’s not your fault. It’s not your fault that you never had any role models for what love is, have no idea how to be sure that the people you hang out with are good for you and keep attracting the same situations again and again. It’s ok. You are ok. You are so loved. How are you supposed to know how to get what you want if you don’t even know what love is supposed to feel like? That’s why people get into programs, go to help groups, see therapy.. to get outside input to break up the same old patterns. What is fault anyways? A hammer from which to hit oneself.
In the spirit world, there is no shame or blame, only cause and effect. The spirits are always willing to show us what we did or didn’t do, but it is us that makes it worse with the unnecessary blaming. Your beautiful journey, hard as it is, is filled with messages to guide you, filled with wonder and wisdom that only you can see and hear. It’s your journey and every part of it is yours. You don’t have to stay in the same pain any longer. Maybe there’s more pain ahead, the pain of growing. Or maybe release is right around the corner. Whatever it is, it will be moving forward. What a profound thing, to forgive oneself and reach out for help.